good cat

Sep. 20th, 2011 02:05 pm
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Every so often, a sound like a bird chirp came from nowhere in particular. At first I thought it was coming from the internet, but experimentation ruled this out. I went into the other room a couple of times, waiting for the sound (at very wide intervals). Finally, I looked for the cat. Frances was in high-fascination mode, her hindquarters projecting from under the red chair. Then she raced, and I saw something else racing as well. If it was a bird, it was a road runner. Anyway, it wasn't flying. I mentally discarded most of my hard-won bird-in-house experience and lore.

Frances and I were on the case. It ran to the really, really junky end of the living room floor where Sarah's Miscellaneous file is. I got a stick and poked through stuff, but nothing small and brown erupted. I went upstairs and retrieved a mouse trap from the kitchen. I tested the ancient peanut butter bait — still apparently viable: another possibly disturbing fact for later.

In the next round of activity, signalled by another urgent chirp, I found that our intruder was a little ground squirrel. This made me want to be even easier on it if possible, but didn't change the overall plan. I finally wised up and closed as many doors as I was sure I didn't want the thing to run through, then opened the front door and went back into bush-beating mode, trying not to cramp Frances's style, since this was her quarry.

There was one more burst of activity in which all three participants were on the move. Then nobody knew where the squirrel was. I didn't see it run up the stairs, and neither (apparently) did Frances, but things have been pretty quiet since then. I gave Frances extra congratulations. When I went in the garage to get lunch out of the freezer, she dashed through the door (the same door that was accidentally left open this morning, possibly making it possible for a small squirrel to go from the garage into the house). I let her snoop around a bit, since she was a hero cat.

When I ate, I had it out in the sun room, and Frances joined me. She wanted to sit in a window where the blinds came about two inches from the sill. Desire was clearly stamped upon her muscles as she yearned toward it, pulled back, plotted a course, then leaped pretty much straight through a slit smaller than herself and posed proudly in the window, as cats are meant to do.

Afterward, I cleaned up the sunroom, sweeping, vacuuming, taking out some large boxes that have been there for the last two or three years, and arranging everything else just so. I'd been dithering over getting back to the gym — stomach's been a tad bit off — and today I gave myself permission to clean up instead, so that's okay.
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a good cat

Feb. 10th, 2009 11:30 pm
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It was warm enough today that Sarah wanted to go out and ride bikes, so we did. A couple of houses from Mikey's, there was a big truck with a trailer, and on the trailer was what looked for all the world like a rough, muddy concrete sofa. As we were getting set to leave later on, I had been regretting that I didn't have my camera, but then I remembered my phone camera. I got it out, and before I could, the truck started up and drove off. I didn't get a decent shot of it. I'm guessing it was a chunk of concrete that used to be a front porch. Lots of work going on at that house.

Yesterday was hundreds day for Sarah, and she was home feeling sick. I was a parent volunteer, so I took her project in (Great Wall of China festooned with genuine Chinese sunflower seeds). They were making beanie-type stuffed critters with 100 lima beans in each. As I helped kids, I was also counting out beans and making a basic beanie for Sarah so when she came in today, she wouldn't be the only kid in class who didn't have one. I took the extra step of stitching off the extremities, with beans inside, so they'd always have some substance to them. She says she has decorated it with a cape and a black karate belt. As you might guess, she's fine today.

I have the turntable hooked up again, and have started ripping some of my LPs. I've scanned in some negatives, too. Using all those peripherals. Rip, scan, print... Mr. Techno Guy!

So. Tonight I was getting ready to turn in, and the cat was, as is typical, sprawled across my path. I looked down and saw that she had a mouse between her paws. It was still moving its legs a little. I emptied some soybeans out of a bowl and put it over the mouse, then carefully slid a piece of card stock under that, followed by a thin board. I assured Frances that she was a good cat and took the captive to the front porch. I lifted the bowl, and the mouse looked a bit startled. It was probably even more startled when I flipped it out into the yard. It landed with a slight squeak. Well, I thought, now I've heard a mouse go 'squeak.'

Cathy said there's a hole by the base of the fireplace. Oh, yes, that's a hole, all right. Silly mice don't know what a mouse hole is supposed to look like, but it was enough for them to get in through, anyway. I looked in the garage for something to block it with, missing my bricks and cinder blocks (which I reluctantly surrendered when we last moved, after having had them for decades). I selected a likely 1x4 and nailed it over the large part of the hole. I went back for a 1x2 and nailed it over the rest, cursing each time a nail bent. There are two bent nails, but I straightened them out and they bent again, so there were more than two curses.

I returned to the bedroom to get back to trying to prepare for bed. There was a strange little object on the floor, which I suspected might be some sort of hairball. After I poked it with my finger, I realized it was an ex-mouse, intact at the ends and harvested much like an ear of corn in the middle. (My apologies to my friends with pet rodents for this gruesome image.) Informing Cathy that our cat was twice as good as we thought, I carefully picked it up with a paper towel and put it in a proper sort of place. Then I washed my hands and gave Frances some extra kibble and told her some more what a great cat she is.

Are there more furry little surprises in our future? Time will tell. Time will tell.
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Early this past week, Cathy pointed out that the dose I'd just given Frances was the last one, so we're done with eyedrops now. She seems happy, alert and clear-eyed (Frances does), though her left eye isn't always open as wide as the right. There was a slight discharge in it one day, just to make me worry. It went away (the discharge).

Sarah started her Chinese class again today, after which I browbeat her into going and having a good time at the Science Museum, where they have an exhibit of giant mechanical insects as well as some real ones of normal size.

Cathy's car cranks but doesn't start. Maybe tomorrow I'll try jumper cables. Some fun.

as mentioned some time ago, here are deer photos from Christmas )
kip_w: (sarah tongue)
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Man, what day did we take the cat to the vet? I'll be looking it up so I can find out how soon I'll be able to stop giving her eye drops. The poor animal's unreasoning fear gets a little more pronounced with each dose. She seems to be getting a bit better, anyway, though I don't know if I'd call this the dramatic results the vet said we might be seeing by about today.

It's pretty dramatic each time I set out to put the drops in. I've stopped petting and speaking consolingly before the eye drops because I don't want petting and quiet speech to equal imminent hell-liquid in her tiny cat mind. So now I just take her and restrain her with as little fuss as possible, clutch her strenuously and try to force her to be still while they hit her eyes. The first one is bad enough; the second one is trauma squared. I tried wrapping her in a towel one time, but it was mostly just one more thing to try and juggle. restraint value, practically nil.

So far, she doesn't seem to bear any grudge, which is darn nice of her. It's a big comfort to me that I can pet her when I see her a few minutes after she has fled the room with eye drops in. I, of course, leave in another direction -- heading for the bathroom to wash and, if need be, put band-aids on, my new scratches. Must avoid cat-scratch fever.

Sarah still pursues the cat around the house, despite our continual warnings to let her be. She wants to pet the cat. She wants to pick the cat up and lug her around. She wants to drag the cat out of hiding. She wants the cat to play with her. I told her that if the cat takes a dislike to her now, it could last for a long time. "You'll be ten, and the cat still won't like you... you'll be sixteen, and the cat still won't like you..." So she gets upset with the cat and resentful of us for interfering with the beautiful friendship she'd like to have occur instantly.

She was in the process of feeling unhappy and unloved tonight when I asked her if she'd help with supper. She came up and opened the two bags of salad greens we'd picked out at the store a couple of days back and started mixing about half of each in the metal bowl while I helped by cutting carrots and some cheese. She brought out the rest of the green pepper I'd bought for the tuna salad we had on Sunday, figuring she'd put it in but avoid eating any. She said it was part of why she didn't eat the tuna salad.

I didn't want to let the green pepper go without carefully determining the truth. First I opened the pickle relish jar and had her take a sniff. Yes, the sweet relish was positively something she didn't like. Then I did a discreet selling job on the green pepper, which I described as juicy, fresh, crunchy, and not spicy. She tried a piece. It wasn't so bad, she decided. Then I also found some grated parmesan in the fridge and she decided to add some of that too.

The salad and the tortelloni were ready at the same time. Cathy came up and we had a nice family meal together. Sarah gave herself lots of green pepper, which seemed to be getting better and better in her eyes. Cathy didn't eat much, but she had some salad, and it was good to have a nice, normal meal that we'd all worked on. If we'd had dessert, it would have been the banana bread Cathy made this morning, but we ended up stopping before we got to it.
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I cut myself on some sauce today. I was pre-washing the dishes, and actually stuck myself on some hardened sauce on a pot. I start things soaking as soon as I'm done with them, but the handle doesn't hold water, so the pad of my middle finger was actually bleeding because of some former food.

We have to give Frances eye drops. Know what she hates? Rhymes with pie drops. We have this life-and-death struggle two times a day. Fortunately, she doesn't seem to have any grudge as a result, though I hope to avoid any situation where I fall down a well and have to send her to get help. So far I'm not seeing the inner eyelids looking a lot better, but I think they are some better. The vet said to expect big improvements Monday-ish, so we wouldn't be seeing them yet anyway.

Sarah continues to persecute the cat in the name of friendliness. I keep trying to get her to ease up, but she doesn't. She's standing here now asking why I typed her name, and when I told her, she's trying to get me to edit it out. Anyway, I have to get her some sunflower seeds, so let me move right along.

Cathy continues to improve. She got the drain out Friday morning, which was a big improvement for her. Her spirits are better and she gets around a bit now. She's taking laundry out of the dryer with the help of her daughter, who can actually bend over for the low stuff. Happy thoughts for her.

Did I mention the deer on Christmas? I saw them through our back window as we were opening presents. They were actually frolicking, chasing each other back and forth. They were pretty much in our neighbor's yard, though it seems almost as if they were staying outside the invisible fence (which is marked by a Christo-like procession of small white flags), but not straying onto our side of the imaginary line. I didn't get any good photos, but I got one that wasn't entirely bad.
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felines

Dec. 22nd, 2008 07:00 pm
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A few days after my birthday, the snow had settled enough that we went out shopping. First we crept slowly toward the Target in Victor, mired in holiday traffic. We got Sarah a pair of shoes. Then we set a course for Lollypop Farm, a local animal shelter, to pick up a birthday cat for me.

The cats were all behind glass, which made it hard for me to conduct the simple test of how forward they were. Feeling somewhat hopeless, I drifted past cat after cat. They were mostly doing their own thing, but one brown striper sat and looked at me. I looked back at her. We made eye contact. I put her first on my list of kitties to look at, and after a short audition, I decided she was the one. I am, therefore, the proud owner of a cat named Princess. I am now calling her Frances, so that I won't have to call her Princess. If anybody has any other good ideas for names that sound pretty much like Princess but aren't, I'd be happy to consider them.

She sneezes and coughs a little, which is apparently normal for ex-shelter cats. She's six months old, spayed, and has her shots. She is reasonably friendly and alert. She hangs out with Cathy whenever she's not doing anything else, and if not, she's upstairs on the rug by the piano. She was here with me for a while on the first couple of days. Perhaps I failed some test. She's happy when I pet her, anyway.

I went out today -- had to shovel the car out -- and I picked up a piece of cat furniture for her two-level lounging and scratching pleasure. I also got a carrier so that when I take her to the vet tomorrow, I can keep a promise I made to her on Saturday not to make her go anywhere in the cardboard carrier again.

In other news, my tuning hammer arrived today, and I unwrapped it and opened up the piano and started whaling away. Several notes sound better now. I hope none of them sound worse. There's still more work to do. I couldn't find a real tuning procedure online, and (surprisingly) I don't have a book that goes into sufficient detail, with the proper order to tune in, and the information on beats and cents and all that. There are videos, but I want something I can refer to while I'm doing it. I ended up tuning it to some notes of my medium-small Yamaha keyboard, but was hampered by company. Zach, from the house back of ours, showed up on our porch just after two. I told him Sarah would be back from school in about an hour and a quarter. He continued loafing on the porch. Finally, I said it was pretty cold and I wanted to shut the door, so he came inside. I turned the TV on for him. He said he was feeling "peckish," so I suggested a couple of possible snacks, which he rejected, until I mentioned the S'Mores granola bars, which met with his approval.

From then on, I had pretty much continual company, with Sarah around 3:28 (bus was late), and then Michael shortly after, followed by running, crashing, and shouting through the house. I managed to drop a rubber mute down into the action, but was able to get hold of it an hour or two later and extract it again. Sarah introduced her friends to the cat, who took it all pretty well.

I'm glad to have a cat in the house. To me, a cat is the soul of a house. With luck, she'll maybe hang around with me some, so I'll get to see a living creature during the day.
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kip_w: (sarah tongue)
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Dreamed I was walking around in my nightshirt, carrying a couple of small items I'd forgotten to pay for. I saw [livejournal.com profile] geckoman and said "hi" and waved. Then I remembered I hadn't paid for the book -- a volume of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame that I'd never seen before -- so I turned around. I was now behind [livejournal.com profile] geckoman. He did some stretching sort of thing, twiddling his fingers by his sides, and all the bystanders on the path did the same thing, with much merriment. He turned, and they all stopped a split second before he could see them. He turned away again, and they went back to aping his movements gleefully. Soon after that I woke up.

Sarah was upset driving home from the pool early in the week, because it was getting dark. When we got home she was still upset, so I suggested a flashlight for her in the car. Next day was a half day for her, so we shopped for flashlights at Target, along with other necessities for the upcoming snowy season. I settled on the lowest-price generator lights. She reminded me we have two cars, so we got two.

Raking continues. As I was corralling leaves, I noticed several sticks under the tree out front. Looking up, I saw that the big limb up high that was holding on by an inch of bark was now several feet lower and, presumably, is now being held up by force up habit plus a network of smaller branches. Don't anybody walk under my tree.

I'm no longer "blind" on LJ. I never managed to install Flash 9, but something -- perhaps activating components of my Adobe CS2 Suite -- seems to have done it for me. Relief.

Meanwhile, I can't find the install disks for Quark, so even though I found all my application backups, I can't make Quark save. It will print, including making PDFs, but it brands them with an obnoxious message. I can take it out in Illustrator, letter by letter (if I take it out in Acrobat, removing the last letter reflows the rest of the text in an intolerable way). This is tedious. So to hell with Quark. I'm now struggling to learn InDesign, whose guiding principle was to do everything differently from Quark. My sister recommended a book that puts the two programs side by side and explains how to make the transition, so Cathy ordered a copy and paid $7 more so I could read it online. I've been reading it online, but because the Amazon reader only shows single pages, I can't compare the features the way the book was intended to do. I could print the book -- one page at a time -- but the resulting printed pages show small print as illegible hieroglyphs. Needless to say, I can't save the file, either.

We went out for sushi last night at Shiki, confirming that it's the best I've found around here so far, albeit pricey. On the way home, Sarah was upset about it getting dark, even with the flashlight. I expect she really is upset, though this would also fit in neatly with her ongoing campaign against going anywhere in the car. We've had at least one cat that was better about riding in the car.

Speaking of cats, we'll be taking care of a cat from down the street for about a week in a couple of days. Sarah keeps dropping hints (apparently unaware that she has more or less flat-out told me already) what she and Cathy are getting for my birthday (hint: cat). The strain is close to the surface. She talks about it on a daily basis. There is still a month and a half to go.

I took the trampoline apart and stacked the pieces in the sunroom. This had the instant effect that Sarah now goes to Mike's house instead of vice versa. I got the nets and rails and pad and springs done last weekend, leaving only a circular frame I called "Trampolinehenge." That part is now stacked as well. I might see how much of it I can stow in the big box it all came in. I might get 75% or more of it back in there and out of the way.

Last night I tried what the plumber told me about the heat regulator in my shower. I wanted to be able to take a hot shower -- lukewarm doesn't do it for me. I finally figured out how to get to the piece that stops the knob from going into hot territory. Some time later, I figured out how to make it go back in. Tomorrow I'll probably call the plumber and have him come out and make it stop incontinently dripping.

That's about it. I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Let's see -- bought a can of popcorn from some Boy Scouts. We went trick-or-treating. Oh yeah, we did that. It was fun; walked about a mile with Mikey and some other kids. We saw people Sarah knows from school. I'll probably remember more later. Sarah and I might go bowling today.
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